North Press Agency – The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) signed a deal with an American oil company to modernize oilfields in northeast Syria, Sen. Lindsey Graham revealed on Thursday.
“I talked to General Mazloum yesterday, with the SDF,” Graham said during testimony from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the State Department’s budget for the next fiscal year.
“Apparently, they’ve signed a deal with an American oil company to modernize the oil fields in northeastern Syria. Are you supportive of that?” Graham asked Pompeo.
“We are,” Pompeo replied, and Graham responded, “That would be a great way to help everybody in northeastern Syria.”
“The deal took a little longer than we had hoped,” Pompeo added, implying that the State Department had been involved in arranging it.
But “we are now in implementation, and it can be very powerful,” Pompeo added, as Graham praised him for the work.
Sources named the oil company as Delta Crescent Energy LLC, a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Delaware, the US-based media site Al-Monitor reported.
The sources gave no further details about the company but would only say they had been in talks for “a long time” and that it had received an OFAC license to operate in Syria.
Sinam Mohamad, the Syrian Democratic Council representative to the United States, confirmed that Delta Crescent had signed an agreement with the autonomous administration but said she had no further details.
Last week, US officials announced a new set of sanctions on Syria, under the Caesar Act. However, as Pompeo affirmed, the new measures will not “hinder our stabilization activities in northeast Syria.”
The Kurdish-led autonomous administration controls most of Syria’s oil wealth, which is concentrated in and around the Rmelain fields close to the Turkish and Iraqi borders and in the Al-Omar fields in Deir Ezzor province further south.
Before Syria’s civil conflict erupted in 2011, the country used to produce around 380,000 barrels of crude per day.
Now production is down to around 60,000 barrels per day, much of it refined in makeshift refineries and transported by leaky pipelines causing massive environmental pollution.